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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

OSU researchers recognized for work in agricultural engineering

STILLWATER, Okla. – The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers recently recognized a few Oklahoma State University faculty members for their work in the field.

Randy Raper.jpgDuring the ASABE Annual International Meeting, Randy Raper, assistant director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, and Michael Smolen, OSU professor emeritus, were named 2016 ASABE Fellows.

“The Fellow Award from ASABE is the highest honor bestowed in this professional society,” said Keith Owens, OAES associate vice president. “Dr. Raper and Dr. Smolen join an elite group of researchers, Extension specialists and educators in biosystems and agricultural engineering from Oklahoma State University. Fewer than 20 faculty members from OSU have been recognized as a Fellow in the last 75 years.”

Much of Raper’s work on reducing the ill effects of soil compaction through management of tire inflation pressures, cover crop management and precision use of in-row subsoiling, garnered the attention of the group.

Raper led the first conclusive study on tire pressure and reduction of soil compaction, finding that radial tractor tires inflated to the lowest recommended rates reduced soil compaction and increased traction. This led to industry reduction in the minimum pressure values recommended on tractor tires, lowering fuel costs for farmers and promoting more efficient soil management.

“Randy is a national leader in developing best practices for on-farm use,” Owens said. “This information is demonstrated and used in our OSU farming and ranching operations.”

Smolen,jpgSmolen is a well-known authority on water quality, watershed management and agricultural pollution control. He is best known for pioneering work in agricultural nonpoint source pollution and developing storm water and sediment control design standards.

He developed a nationally recognized water quality Extension and research program for DASNR, led the National Water Quality Evaluation Project at North Carolina State University and assisted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in guiding the 319 Nonpoint Source Program.

“Dr. Smolen has been a mainstay of our program for many years,” Owens said. “His research has been crucial for proper management of our state’s resources.”

ASABE also selected Michael Buser, associate professor in OSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, as the 2016 Mayfield Cotton award winner. The award recognizes outstanding engineering contributions to the cotton industry.

Buser,jpgBuser leads numerous Extension and research programs on air quality, bioenergy and agricultural logistics, and product traceability. He also teaches courses at workshops and meetings throughout the country.

“Dr. Buser’s national recognition speaks to the quality of his work and the relevancy of it to cotton producers, not only in Oklahoma, but even globally,” said John Veenstra, interim department head for OSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Buser and the impact of his work in our industry and for his contributions to helping OSU fulfill our land-grant mission.”

Buser co-led the largest and most comprehensive air quality study ever conducted in the cotton ginning industry addressing many issues. The emission factors from this work are currently being incorporated into cotton gin operating permits across U.S. cotton-producing states and other countries.

The U.S. cotton ginning industry was facing an estimated $1.1 billion in initial capital costs and $85 million in annual maintenance costs to install and maintain additional abatement technologies to meet the particulate matter emission limits proposed by some state regulators.

This project, regarding particulate matter emissions from cotton gins, will inform policymakers and industry engineers alike.

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Sean Hubbard
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Oklahoma State University
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Email: sean.hubbard@okstate.edu

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